Thursday, January 22, 2009


With Malaysia trying to re-shape its football fortunes, expect the country’s football officials to throw the spanner into the works yet again. The departure of B. Sathianathan as National Coach was what some of these officials were out for, and last night’s defeat at the hands of UAE seem to be the final nail in the coffin.

The crime that the coach committed was simply standing his ground and refusing to play politics, something that our football has been so accustomed with over the past few years. Sathia was honest in his opinion, that our league structure sucks, but who cares what he says, for that matter who cares what anyone says on how to improve Malaysian football. Significantly, he hasn't backed away from that comment, repeating it yet again in the post match press conference last night, despite the pressure he's put on himself. He knows better than anyone that his future as national coach hangs by a thread.
Sathia is a smart and enthusiastic coach. He's also a developing coach, and has never pretended otherwise. He's made mistakes, a couple of selections have backfired, a couple of substitutions might have been better. For this, he is entirely accountable. But he can't go out and make a tackle, execute a pass, or score a goal. The black and white view that Sathia is as arrogant as it is laughable. As national coach, he is the scapegoat. If results aren't acceptable - and the results of the AFF were disastrous - then he'll take the blame, as he has done.

FAM would probably now want the new coaching staff to hurriedly assemble a team to play high profile matches, especially with Manchester United visiting this July, just as much as we appreciate the important of high-profile build-up matches to shape the national team, the disconnect between coaches and administrators will lead us nowhere. This is hardly the time to shake the foundation that Sathia has built.
The incessant power struggles in Malaysian football have hurt the game, and Sathia’s sacking will only kill the Malaysian dream. The decision speaks volumes about the lack of vision that our football administrators exhibit, and ought to be condemned in the strongest of terms.